The NCTJ presents two awards at annual public affairs seminar

The NCTJ’s annual public affairs seminar took place at the Local Government Association in London on Friday 17 September. In attendance were 17 delegates from learning centres around the country, as well as NCTJ staff and public affairs board members.

Alexandra Sage, who was a student on Highbury College’s fast-track newspaper journalism course in 2009-10, was awarded The Oxford University Press Public Affairs Award for the most outstanding public affairs, central government paper.

Lorraine Proudlock, the public affairs tutor at Highbury College, accepted the award on Alexandra’s behalf. Alexandra said, “I feel delighted. The central government syllabus gave me a much better understanding of the way in which the government interacts with, and influences, so many aspects of our everyday lives, and will be both an asset to my career as a journalist, and as an informed member of the public.”

Melissa Ittoo, who was on the fast-track certificate in journalism (sub-editing) course at Brighton Journalist Works in 2009-10, was awarded The LGCommunications Public Affairs Award for the most outstanding public affairs, local government paper.  Richard Lindfield, the public affairs tutor at Brighton Journalist Works, accepted the award at the seminar on Melissa’s behalf. Melissa said, “I am extremely honoured. I am sure that the public affairs knowledge I have gained will be of great value to my career.”

To enter each award, students must achieve 80 per cent or more in the respective central or local government papers. The prizes each consist of a cheque for £250 and a certificate.

A variety of current central and local government public affairs topics were presented at the seminar. David Natzler, clerk of legislation at the House of Commons, discussed recent changes to the workings of the House of Commons, and Simon Duffin, head of press at the UK Office of the European Parliament, gave an update on the European Parliament.

Local government topics included local government scrutiny arrangements, which were addressed by Jonathan Hill-Brown, scrutiny officer for the London Borough of Hounslow and Matt Clack, scrutiny officer for the London Borough of Hackney; and Ben Kind, the public affairs and campaigns manager for the Local Government Association, gave an overview on local government, which included localism.

Janet Jones, the new chair and chief examiner of the NCTJ public affairs board, presented the public affairs syllabus and assessments for the new NCTJ diploma, which is launching this autumn.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, gave special recognition to Amanda Ball, who recently stepped down as chair and chief examiner of public affairs.

Amanda started teaching public affairs to journalism students at Sheffield College in 1988, and has been teaching both public affairs and law at Nottingham Trent University since 2003. She joined the NCTJ public affairs board in 1993, and has held the position of chair and chief examiner of public affairs since 1994. She is also a member of the NCTJ media law and photography exam boards.

Joanne said, “Amanda remains one of the NCTJ’s biggest supporters and is involved in so many aspects of our work for which I am very grateful. She really deserves all our thanks for the amazing work she has done on the NCTJ’s public affairs syllabus and exams.”